With a little help from Mother Nature, the city of Kingman recycles its wastewater - and may one day to use the effluent water to keep local parks and golf courses green.
The city has two wastewater treatment plants - one near the downtown area and one northeast of Kingman close to the Kingman Airport - that turn raw sewerage into water clean enough to go back into the ground to replenish the water table.
However the city is looking for a more immediate use of wastewater, and has hired an environmental planning and engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study, Public Works Director Jack Kramer said.
Carter & Burgess, a planning and engineering firm with locations throughout the United States, is currently performing a Collection System Capacity Study to determine the most economical way to produce Class A recycled water from the wastewater plant," said Jason Bethke, a wastewater engineer from the Carter & Burgess Phoenix office.
The study will take about 60 days to complete, Kramer said.
Bethke said the plant now produces Class C wastewater and the study will determine what it will take to produce a higher water quality.
"We are looking at the possibility of utilizing the wastewater to water the public golf course (Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course)," Kramer said.
"Some people say it is financially not economical, but it will be looked at.
"It could be feasible at some point in time."
Kramer said Class A recycled water is more expensive to treat, but could be used by the city to water parks and public landscaping.
In addition, a local developer has expressed interest in using the Class A treated water, he said.
Additional treatment of the wastewater would give the city three different treatment types to choose from.
Jeff Corwin, the city of Kingman wastewater superintendent, said the city's wastewater treatment plants are the first in the state to utilize wetlands for treatment-only in the state.
Corwin, who has been with the public works department for 15 years, said the facilities are unique in that they use natural methods of treating the sewage.
The Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant, four miles northeast of Kingman, consists of several lagoons and a wetland system with an infiltration basin that is also a bird refuge.
After solids are filtered out, the wastewater goes from one lagoon to the next for 30 days.
Aerating helps convert it to a less toxic state, Corwin said.
"The longer the wastewater stays in each lagoon the better treated it is."
After going through a primary and secondary lagoon, the wastewater goes through a "polishing pond," a tertiary treatment pond where the water is further treated for 12 to 14 days.
From the polishing pond the water is directed one mile away to wetlands ponds containing cattails and other plants to further filter the water.
Water is constantly monitored at the three 25-acre wetlands "trains," before it enters its final resting place to sink back into the ground, where the dirt further filters the water for several years before reaching an underground water source, Corwin said.